Connie Hamzy, the subject of Grand Funk Railroad’s number one record, “We’re an American Band,” has died at 66. The Arkansas native was a famous name among rock and roll groupies, attending shows at the Barton Coliseum and growing close with bands, roadies and people who worked the shows.
Hamzy would earn the name “Sweet, Sweet Connie” after Grand Funk Railroad released the song “We’re an American Band.” The song would reach the top of the charts and introduced Hamzy to rock mythology. “Last night in Little Rock, put me in a haze / Sweet, sweet Connie, doin’ her act / She had the whole show and that’s a natural fact,” the lyrics read. She also had the honor of appearing in the lyrics of another song, this time by Cheap Trick and titled “Standing on the Edge.”
The former rock groupie isn’t without some infamy, too, at least in political circles. Hamzy claimed in 1991 that she was approached by an Arkansas state trooper and asked to join Bill Clinton. The story never gained much traction, but then Clinton adviser George Stephanopoulos secured affidavits and Clinton’s story, denying the details of their meeting and painting a different picture.
Hamzy would also attempt unsuccessfully to run for the U.S. House of Representatives in Arkansas back in 1996. She also appeared in fellow groupie star Pamela De Barres’ documentary Let’s Spend the Night Together: Confessions of Rock’s Greatest Groupies. The 2010 VH1 production introduced the women like De Barres and Hamzy who would be considered “groupies” and traveling fans of these bands, like Led Zeppelin or The Rolling Stones.
De Barres posted a tribute to Hamzy on Instagram, capturing the late groupie’s spirit in a few words. “The wildest of us all has left the planet.RIP Sweet Sweet Sweeeeet Connie,” she wrote in the caption.
Hamzy’s last public appearance was in June at a reception for “Play It Loud: Concerts at Barton Coliseum,” an exhibit at the Old State House, signing autographs and listening to her claim to fame in the hands of a Grand Funk Railroad cover band. No cause of death was announced, though Hamzy entered the hospital on Thursday and was placed in hospice care from the beginning.